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Md. Congressman Ruppersberger On Putin: ‘We’ve Got To Stand Up To Him’

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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WASHINGTON (WJZ) — New sanctions unleashed against Russia after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

Ranking House Intelligence Committee member Dutch Ruppersberger tells Christie Ileto the sanctions will take a bigger bite out of Russia’s already hurting economy.

The sanctions target Russia’s finance and energy industry. But the biggest question is: will this work?

It’s the latest attempt to get Russia to back down. New sanctions were announced this week as Ukrainian separatists, believed to be trained and armed by Russia, continue fighting in eastern Ukraine.

This, following the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

“It didn’t have to come to this. It does not have to be this way. This is a choice that Russia, and President Putin in particular, has made,” President Obama said.

A strong message from President Obama and the European Union. The sanctions now ban access to American capital, while crippling Russia’s energy industry–like oil drilling sales and trade of military equipment.

Maryland Congressman and ranking House Intelligence Committee member Dutch Ruppersberger says the goal is to hit them where it hurts–the pocket book.

“He’s a bully and you have to stand up to him,” he said. “Putin is acting so bad at this point in his attempt to move forward and go into other countries that he’s got to be stopped.”

Federal leaders are also criticizing Russia’s testing of ground missiles dating back to 2008–a violation of a 1987 nuclear arms treaty.

“Not only is he involved in shooting down a commercial airline, but now he’s violating treaties. So we’ve got to stand up to him,” said Ruppersberger.

So, will this prompt a quick about-face from Russia? Federal leaders say only time will tell.

The administration says the missile complaint wasn’t timed to coincide with sanctions against Russia.

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